The Chester High School Athletic Hall of Fame added 11 new members to its ranks last week.
The induction included: Jonathan K. Wright (track); Irving Miller (all-around player); Ahmad Rahim (baseball); Lamar Dodson (basketball); Earl Williams (basketball); Eric Jackson (soccer); Farren Benson (track); and Charles Byrd (coach).
The CHS Athletic Hall of Fame has honored legendary players and coaches in Chester since its inception in 1991.
Kendrick Harris was given the Lawson Showell award for his community service and mentoring work in Chester. John and Delores Shelton were given the Carsarraine Blackwell award for being education advocates.
The ceremony took place at the Concordville Inn in Concordville. The master of ceremonies was former Chester High coach Fred Pickett and Chester athletic director Randy Legette.
Harris has worked as a volunteer coach with the Chester High Clippers for 25 years and has been a volunteer and mentor at the Chester Boys and Girls Club for 27 years. During that time, the varsity team has been state champs six times, District champs 11 times, and Del Val League champs numerous times. He has worked along with varsity head coaches Alonzo Lewis, Fred Pickett and Larry Yarbray.
“It’s very important to give back to the community; let’s face it — there are not a lot of fathers in the home today,” Harris said. “You can see that … is highly missed just by some of the things that are going on in the community. When we were growing up we were fortunate because we had Bennie Wright and George Carter, who put the community first and had different organizations to help the kids succeed; a lot of that is missing today.
“If more people just come back to Chester and grab one or two kids and mentor them there would be more success in the community,” he added. “I’ve had a lot of success when it comes to sports both in and outside of Chester; but to see these kids further their education, graduate for college, take care of their families, and succeed in life is why I do what I do.”
Miller won eight varsity letters from 1945 to 1948 including three football letters for quarterback and halfback, three baseball letters for centerfielder, and two basketball letters for guard.
He taught and coached in the Ridley School District for 32 years. Miller was also on the 1947 baseball team that won the league championship.
“Chester is something that is dear to me and always will be,” Miller said. “I’m thrilled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. One thing that I have always taught my players when I was coaching was to always hustle. You have to be prepared for the game, know what the situation was in the game, and know what you have to do when the ball came to you.”
Jackson was First Team All Del Val and team MVP in 1973. He also ran track and football from 1972 to 1974. Jackson said he is pleased with how soccer has grown in Chester, and he is hoping kids will continue to follow in his footsteps.
“I’m ecstatic about being honored, but I’m also happy to see how far soccer has come in Chester,” Jackson added. “It gives the youth and the community another sport to watch and enjoy outside of basketball, baseball and football. In soccer it’s all about being a team; you don’t necessarily have to be the best individually, but your role is important to help the team succeed.
“My advice for the kids who wants to follow in my footsteps is if you want to be the best, spend time in the off season to get better; that’s how you become champion material,” he added. “Work hard, and be the best that you can be. Most importantly, make sure your education is priority, because that is what will prepare you for your future.”
In addition to the ceremony, Book Awards for $200 were given to recent Chester High School graduates including Anthony Davis, Laquan Robinson, Lamont Church and Maya Nelson.